Reid Hoffman: Use Startup Principles To Help Nonprofits

54th David Packard Media of Achievement Award winner Reid Hoffman believes that making the world better should be a core mission in every organization, not just an afterthought.

Boonsri Dickinson, Associate Editor of BYTE

October 10, 2012

2 Min Read

Changing society should be a core mission for businesses, said Reid Hoffman, who received the 54th David Packard Media of Achievement Award Tuesday night.

Hoffman, who is known as a co-founder of LinkedIn, and is a partner at Greylock Partners, spoke at the TechAmerica award dinner about the need for companies to encourage the enterpreneurial spirit within their ranks. "We need to figure out how to innovate at larger companies," he said, rather than rely on the model of larger companies acquiring startups for sustaining innovation.

Hoffman also spent time explaining how the tech community should apply its innovative processes to develop more than just scalable products. It should also apply innovation to developing new models for non-profit organizations, he said.

A few companies recognize that it is not just about inventing products, he noted. For instance, there's the Salesforce model and the Google.org model. These companies have a vision of how they will change the world and how they can make a philanthropic impact, Hoffman said. It's important to have a mission culture.

Using LinkedIn as another example, he noted that LinkedIn for Good is an initiative aimed at leveraging its platform for social good by asking: what kind of things can we bring inside the network to enable micro volunteering? By using the connected platform, Hoffman said, non-profits are able to recruit the right people from the boards of other non-profit organizations in the network.

Hoffman said entrepreneurs should be trying to figure out how to build new kinds of non-profits, ones that are modeled after companies that were built for profit. He gave several examples. The nonprofit Kiva.org uses the Internet and a micro-financing network to lend small entrepreneurs money so they can create a better life for themselves. Code For America in Oakland, Calif., is using the tech community to help improve local government.

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About the Author(s)

Boonsri Dickinson

Associate Editor of BYTE

Boonsri Dickinson is the Associate Editor of BYTE

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